Want to win the holiday? Start early

Report

Want to win the holiday? Start early

Summer is now behind us, which means you’re likely finalizing your holiday campaigns — and need to decide where to focus your efforts.

It’s tempting to dedicate the majority of your marketing resources to the busy Black Friday-to-Cyber Monday period, but most holiday shoppers are active from October through the end of December. If you’re mainly (or only) targeting those days, you’ll miss the chance to connect with most of your potential consumers.

New U.S. research has revealed key information about holiday shoppers’ behavior. They are browsing and purchasing over longer stretches of time, and it’s more important than ever for you to be there for them earlier in the season.

This report goes in-depth on four types of holiday shoppers — Evergreen, Early Bird, Deal Seeker, and Last-Minute Shopper — and offers new insights into how to best help them navigate the biggest shopping moment of the year.

Hero Image
25 % Early Bird 38 % Evergreen 19 % Last Minute 18 % Deal Seeker

Source: Google/Ipsos, U.S., Omnichannel Holiday Study, Holiday shoppers 18+ who shopped in previous 48 hours, n=5944 shoppers overall, and n=1,571 holiday shoppers week of BF/CM, Nov. 2017–Jan. 2018. Google/Ipsos, U.S., Omnichannel Holiday Study, Holiday Shoppers 18+ n=1489 Early Birds, n=1092 Deal Seekers, n=2242 Evergreen, n=1121 Last Minute, Nov. 2017–Jan. 2018.

Timing is everything

Meet the four types of holiday shoppers, each with their own unique behaviors.

Evergreen

This customer spreads out their shopping over the whole holiday season

Early Bird

This customer gets most of their shopping done early in the season

Deal Seeker

This customer does most of their shopping during the Black Friday-Cyber Monday weekend

Last Minute

This customer puts off most of their shopping till the final push before the holiday

Pre-Holiday Black Friday-Cyber Monday Peak Holiday Final Push Post-Holiday

Up to Nov 22

Nov 23-26

Nov 27-Dec 20

Dec 21-25

Dec 26-Jan 1

Early Bird

Last Minute

Deal Seeker

Evergreen

Evergreen

Early Bird

Deal Seeker

Last Minute

Pre-Holiday

Up to Nov 22

Black Friday-Cyber Monday

Nov 23-26

Peak Holiday

Nov 27-Dec 20

Final Push

Dec 21-25

Post-Holiday

Dec 26-Jan 1

Boomers plan ahead while millennials hold off

We compared the four shopper types with key demographics to determine how you can best target millennials, Gen Xers, boomers, and parents. Here’s how these groups span across the different shopper behaviors.

Less likely to be

More likely to be

87

Millennials

100

Gen Xers

108

Boomers

92

Parents

100

Less likely to be

More likely to be

100

87

Millennials

100

Gen Xers

108

Boomers

92

Parents

Source: Google/Ipsos, U.S., Omnichannel Holiday Study, Holiday Shoppers 18+ n=1489 Early Birds, n=1092 Deal Seekers, n=2242 Evergreen, n=1121 Last Minute, Nov. 2017–Jan. 2018.

Holiday shoppers in the Age of Assistance

Regardless of their shopper type, people’s expectations have risen rapidly. Today’s shoppers are

Curious

0

%

Say they always do research before they buy to ensure they are making the best possible choice

Demanding

0

%

Wish retailers would do a better job of sharing inventory information

Impatient

0

%

Want to get their shopping done as quickly as possible

Source: Google/Ipsos, U.S., Omnichannel Holiday Study, Holiday shoppers 18+ who shopped in previous 48 hours n=5944, Nov. 2017–Jan. 2018.

Man looking at his phone.

Google/Ipsos, U.S., Omnichannel Holiday Study, Holiday shoppers 18+ n=1121 Last Minute, Nov. 2017–Jan. 2018.

First they research, then they buy

People are spending a significant amount of their time researching, browsing, and purchasing online. In some cases, it’s more than half. We found that even Last-Minute Shoppers will do this. They now spend 54% of their shopping time online.

% of time spent Shopping Online

% of time spent Shopping In-Store

Evergreen

53% 47%

Early Bird

55% 45%

Deal Seeker

63% 37%

Last Minute

54% 46%

Source: Google/Ipsos, Omnichannel Holiday Study, U.S., Holiday Shoppers 18+ n=1489 Early Birds, n=1092 Deal Seekers, n=2242 Evergreen, n=1121 Last Minute, Nov. 2017-Jan. 2018.

They surf, watch, and search

We asked shoppers how they prefer to do their online research, so you can consider where to focus your efforts to get the best results. Here’s how people are browsing before they buy.

Evergreen

51

%

Early Bird

49

%

Deal Seeker

62

%

Last Minute

48

%

Source: Google/Ipsos, U.S., Omnichannel Holiday Study, Holiday Shoppers 18+ n=1489 Early Birds, n=1092 Deal Seekers, n=2242 Evergreen, n=1121 Last Minute, Nov. 2017–Jan. 2018.

Man looking at his phone.

Source: Google/Ipsos, Omnichannel Holiday Study, U.S., Holiday Shoppers 18+ n=1092 Deal Seekers, Nov. 2017-Jan. 2018.

Smartphones guide their shopping journey

Mobile plays an integral part in holiday shopping, even when customers are in the store. You’ll see here that the numbers are significant, indicating that mobile should be at the core of your holiday strategy.

Used their mobile device to shop/browse

Used their mobile device while in store

0 25 50 75 100

Evergreen

0

%

0

%

Early Bird

0

%

0

%

Deal Seeker

0

%

0

%

Last Minute

0

%

0

%

100
75
50
25
0

Evergreen

0%

0%

Early Bird

0%

0%

Deal Seeker

0%

0%

Last Minute

0%

0%

Google/Ipsos, U.S., Omnichannel Holiday Study, Holiday Shoppers 18+ n=1489 Early Birds, n=1092 Deal Seekers, n=2242 Evergreen, n=1121 Last Minute, Nov. 2017–Jan. 2018.

They’re on mobile, and they’re ready to buy

Holiday shoppers are now comfortable with online and mobile purchasing — particularly Deal Seekers — who are most likely to rely on their smartphones to shop. It’s essential to ensure that your mobile experience is frictionless.

% of Purchases In-Store

% of Purchases Online

% of Purchases Online via Mobile

Evergreen

55% 45% 46%

Early Bird

53% 47% 49%

Deal Seeker

47% 53% 55%

Last Minute

66% 34% 51%

Google/Ipsos, U.S., Omnichannel Holiday Study, Holiday Shopping Occasions n=4099, Nov. 2017–Jan. 2018.

For more consumer insights, check out these resources on Think with Google